Perhaps it’s the promise of spring, the warmth of the sun or the fact that I have a dog… but I’ve been feeling particularly sentimental lately. Here’s hoping it hasn’t crossed over into total schmaltz, but man, that feeling of nostalgia has been intense the last week or so. I don’t know that I’m longing for a certain time or space, but there have been moments where I have been so startled by a wave of memories that take over my thoughts and feelings.
I think it started when my sister sent me a picture of the house I grew up in – the house that my parents built in the 80’s and 90s.
That’s it. (The peace sign is a new addition. By the time building started, my dad had left his hippie ways behind him.) I started crying when I saw the house. In an instant, pictures slid through my mind’s eye. I can’t tell you how many games of tag were played in that front yard. When I was 8 or 9, my dad planted young maples around the grounds. We would rile up our dog, a full bred collie, and cling to those trees as he tried to herd us to the house.
I remember laying the floor in the middle room you see. I buried my troll doll under the floor, like the space created was some kind of time capsule. The family room was originally a garage, but my dad quickly changed his mind. There’s a huge brick fire place that sits along the wall by the garage that my mom and I laid together. (Ok… mostly my mother.) If I close my eyes I can still see the bright oranges, fiery reds, and soft yellows of the maple, oak and elm trees that filled the back yard. I can see the snow falling, covering the deck in soft silence. I can hear the click of roller skate wheels across wooden planks and over the cracks in the cement. The laughter of my sisters, the rip of my dad’s chainsaw, and the hum of my mother’s sewing machine wash over me the longer I stare.
My childhood was, for all intents and purposes, idyllic. It wasn’t fancy, but I grew up in a place where nature was my friend and exploring was encouraged. (Unless it was the neighbor’s pond. And I learned that the hard way…) Maybe it’s because this year has been hard, or simply because I have realized at the tender age of 30 I actually have to be an adult and make difficult decisions, but the poignant feelings don’t bother me. Instead, I welcome them for a time. Like sipping a really good cup of coffee. It’s amazing at the time I consume it and it gives me exactly what I need to move on.
That’s how I feel about this house and the memories that come with it. As I grow older and perhaps get married and have a family, I hope I can pass along memories so warm and tender they linger in the way my childhood has for me. Memories which remind me that where I came from gave me a good foundation for where I’m going. For that, I am thankful.
What about you? What makes you feel sentimental? Is it a song or a scent? I’d love to hear your thoughts.